WMA SmartBrief Frequency Change

For several years, the Web Marketing Association has worked closely with SmartBrief to offer a daily email newsletter providing quick summaries of interesting industry articles of interest. In an effort to provide the highest-quality content, we are reducing our publishing frequency from daily to twice a week. Starting this week, you will receive WMA SmartBrief on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you do not yet subscribe to this insightful free newsletter, you can sign up for WMA SmartBrief here.

WMA Offers Discount to eTail West 2018 Conference

If you are planning on attending the eTail West 2018 Conference, February 26 – March 1, 2018 at the JW Marriott in Palm Springs, CA, maybe we can help.
When you register, use the promo code ETW18WMA to get a 25% discount to the conference.
If you were not planning on attending, maybe you should rethink that decision.
eTail, launched in 1999, is the premiere multi-channel retail conference dedicated to supporting the growth of the retail industry through high-level networking and extensive thought leadership. eTail West was launched as part of the eTail Conference series to speak to the unique challenges facing retailers looking to grow their brand in the market. Download the agenda to learn more.

The Web Marketing Association is an proud association partner of the eTail Conferences.

Overcoming a Google Penalty: How SEO Inc. Increased a Client’s Organic Traffic by Over 170%

Here at SEO Inc., prospects and new clients often reach out to us because their website’s rankings are suffering from a Google penalty. They usually come to us for two reasons:

1) They have been penalized algorithmically, meaning their site has drawn the unwanted attention of a Google algorithm like Panda or Penguin. These algorithms are designed to decrease website rankings when they find things like low quality content or spammy links.

2) They have been penalized manually by Google. Usually this is the result of their previous SEO company having engaged in blackhat link building tactics.

SEO1

We recently had a new client reach out to us because he suspected his current web development company was doing something illegitimate to his site, which was causing it to lose traffic. He had recently relaunched his website with a modern and responsive design, and he had signed up for SEO with the same company. However, aside from some recent positive traction, organic traffic wasn’t nearly what it had been in previous years or even recent months. In fact, it had decreased significantly.

SEO2

Our client was fairly SEO-savvy, so right away he noticed that some things had not been done with the new site, which raised some major red flags.

Missing redirections. A lot of the old pages had not been redirected to the new pages on the site. This means the SEO value of the old URL’s was not being passed to the new URL’s.

Missing alt text. Many of the images were missing alt text, which provide essential information that allows blind or handicapped users to browse the site.

Slow website speed. Our client believed his website seemed slower than it should have been.

Needless to say, he wasn’t satisfied with the results and depth of knowledge exhibited by his previous company.

Our Goal

SEO Inc. resolved to work with our new client to restore his rankings to a consistent level and increase his organic traffic using legitimate, proven SEO strategies. We would perform an audit of his entire website, essentially leaving no stone unturned as we inspected his site on a page-by-page basis as well as on the whole to root out and remove toxic links. We would also aim to improve his on page optimization, leveraging unique content and keyword distribution to enhance relevancy and authority for his pages.

Link Detox

SEO3

Once we could review the client’s website in depth, we made a startling discovery – his previous company had been building links to his website using black hat SEO tactics. They had used a common tactic called a Private Blog Network (PBN). This was a network of WordPress sites this company owned and operated, and its sole purpose was to publish articles that would link back to their clients’ websites using exact match, money (high value) anchor text. This PBN was particularly easy to identify, as all the sites under it linked to each other and pointed back to this company’s website as well – a clear sign of black hat webspam and of trying to “cheat” the ranking system.

Because we could identify the PBN so easily, we knew it was only a short matter of time before Google would crack down on our client, having issued manual penalties in the past for using PBNs to artificially inflate rankings.

Our Solution

Once our client came onboard, we performed a thorough link detox of his site. This process involved looking at each backlink pointing toward his site and immediately disavowing the PBN sites. In the days and weeks following the Google algorithm Penguin 4.0 (which targets webspam in real-time and rolled out in fall of last year), we saw a noticeable increase in organic traffic to our client’s site.

Page Speed and Image Optimization

Another challenge was to correct our client’s 404 errors that his previous company had ignored. Optimizing the website’s page speed and load times became another large focus of the project. We did indeed find that the website was performing at a less than ideal speed, which when combined with the lack of redirects, would make for a poor user experience and reduce the sites organic visibility.

Our Solution>

We worked to make sure that all our client’s old URLs were redirected to their new counterparts. This would allow the pages to carry over the “link juice” value to the new site, preserving the flow of traffic from the old pages to the new.

We took advantage of several newer technologies to take the website’s page speed to new levels, specifically HTTP/2 and PHP7. HTTP/2 replaced the older, slower HTTP website protocol, while PHP7 provided a stronger scripting language for web development purposes.

As for his images, we compressed all of the images on his website losslessly using the WordPress plugin WP Smush and used W3 Total Cache to combine and reduce the number of CSS & JS resources used. This would cut back on the amount of scripting needed to load the website. We also added descriptive alt text to his images, optimizing them to be able to be understood by users with disabilities and adhering to ADA standards.

Page Speed States Before Implementation:

SEO4

Page Speed States After Implementation:

SEO5

On Page Optimization

Once we had taken care of the mission critical SEO tasks, we could shift our focus to his on page optimization. His previous company had implemented a damaging keyword strategy that goes against Google’s guidelines. We found numerous instances of overlapping and duplicated keywords in his meta tags and headers. Since so many pages shared the same focus keywords, a lot of his pages were prevented from ranking for additional key terms.

Our Solution

We discussed with our client how to ensure a strong keyword strategy for each page by positioning the keywords to target a specific service or topic. Then, we incorporated them into unique content with no overlap between pages.

Rich Snippet Optimization

SEO6

In addition to the on page optimization work, we also added various structured data formats to enhance the site’s search result listings and click through rate. We created a testimonials page on his website to list all of his reviews and ratings and then added AggregateRating Review Structured Data to showcase his 5 star rating in the search results. We also added Breadcrumb markup to make the URL listing more digestible and appealing to both search engines and users. In addition to the structured data mentioned above, we added the following additional formats:

These additional formats allowed his site to gain added value from Google’s search results listings, as they are now eligible to be featured in prominent sections on the page.

White Hat Link Building Campaign

Last but not least, we took a purely white hat approach to building links to our client’s site. Unlike the previous company’s tactics of forging backlinks using an illegitimate PBN, we wanted to provide real value to his website and his visitors by building links that were related to his industry. We were able to leverage services such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which connects journalists with experts to answer their questions using thorough research and know-how to create the foundation for a strong link profile for our client.

Conclusion

We are pleased to report that after our on page optimization efforts, page speed improvements, rich snippet additions, and the implementation of our keyword and content and strategy, our client’s website performance increased drastically:

  • Organic traffic increased by 170%
  • Page load time reduced from 4.8 seconds to 1.2 seconds
  • Page sizes reduced from 2.68 MB to 676 KB

We are thrilled to have helped pull our client out of his SEO troubles, securing his site and making it more appealing to human users and search engines.

A way to promote your awards

First place championship trophy or cup in front of blackboard with champagne and fireworks concept for winning and successOnce you’ve won an award for your work, it’s important to do everything you can to promote that win, both inside your company and without.

Awards Finder is a new website that was designed to help marketers find award programs that fit their marketing needs. They also offer the ability to promote the awards you have won with a post on their Awards Finder Blog.

To submit your award for consideration, use this short form to submit your details to Award Finder.

 

Insights from the WebAward Judges

Each year at the conclusion of the WebAward program, we ask our esteemed panel of WebAward judges a series of questions to help participants better understand what the judges are looking for and to improve the website recognition program for the next year.

PositiveOn the survey last year we asked “When judging a site, what usually had the greatest positive impact on your score?” 35.6% of the judges responded that outstanding design was the thing that helped bring up a score. The criteria that had the second most responses was ease of use with 23.7%. Content was in third with 15.25% of the judges relying on this criteria the most.

 

NegativeAt the other end of the scale, we also asked what had the most negative impact on your scores. Not surprising, 39% of the WebAward judges said that bad design was the top criteria when they scored a site poorly. Ease of use (18.6%) and Navigation (15.25%) also played a factor when the judges felt a website did not live up to its potential.

These results remind us that first impressions are important when developing a website.  Even though the WebAwards uses seven equally weighted criteria to determine a websites final score. Judges are asked to review the site as though they were the target audience. They then add their experience and expertise and understanding of current web trends to provide a score for the entry.

With each entry being reviewed by up to five different judges, we then take the average of the top two scores to determine the entries final score. This way we strive to provide the most fair judging of any awards program available to the online marketing community.

To have your website judged by professionals in the 2017 WebAwards, enter at www.WebAward.org

New Publication Available for Online Marketing Professionals

WMM coverWeb Management and Marketing: The Peer-Reviewed Journal is a major new professional journal publishing in-depth articles and case studies on all aspects of management and marketing in the rapidly changing environment of ‘The Web’.

Each quarterly 100-page issue provides actionable advice written by and for web professionals on topics ranging from web design and development to content strategy, and from website regulation to search engine marketing.
Web Management and Marketing: The Peer-Reviewed Journal provides a high-quality, peer-reviewed forum to showcase innovative strategies, techniques and best practices employed by major brands, the public sector and not-for-profits around the world that maximize customer experience and ROI.

“In a world filled with opinion, temporary fixes, hacks and plenty of guessing; it is the perfect time to have a peer reviewed journal to help sort through the noise.  Real world practical advice from the experts in their field – long overdue and most welcome.”
 
To pay by credit card from within North America call 800-633-4931 or subscribe online.
• In the rest of the world call +44 (0)207 092 3474 or
subscribe online.
• Or just email
francesca@hspublications.co.uk . We can send an invoice if you prefer.

Use discount code “WMMWEB010” to receive 10% off your subscription.

Internet Experts Needed To Judge 21st annual WebAward Competition

2017 WebAward Competition for Website DevelopmentExcellence deserves recognition and the Web Marketing Association is looking for experienced Internet professionals who can help judge the Websites that are entered into its 21st annual international WebAward competition, the standards-defining award program that sets industry benchmarks based on the seven criteria of a successful Web site. Interested individuals can submit their names for consideration using the WebAward Judges Nomination Form.

The 2017 WebAward Competition for Website development is currently accepting entries until May 31, 2017. Judging will begin in mid-June and run through early August.

Judges will consist of a select group of Internet professionals who have direct experience designing and managing Web sites,–including members of the media, interactive creative directors, site designers, content providers and webmasters – with an in-depth understanding of the current state-of-the-art in Web site development and technology. Past judges have included top executives from leading organizations such as Universal McCann, SapientNitro, T Rowe Price, Bridge Worldwide, Disney, Euro RSCG, Boeing, Huge, ING Direct, VML, Facebook, J. Walter Thompson, Gartner, Possible Worldwide, YUM!, Cuker Interactive, PayPal, Razorfish, Munich Re, Refinery, Ernst & Young, Magellan Health Service, Microsoft, R/GA, Family Cookbook Project, Saatchi & Saatchi, SAP, Starwood Hotel, and Website Magazine.

If you or someone some one in your organization would make a good judge, they can learn more and enter their name for consideration on the WebAward Judges Nomination Form.

“The vast majority of our judges return each year to participate again as a WebAward judge, but some need to take time off from judging and because of the popularity of the WebAwards there is a constant need for new judges”, said William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association. “Prior to the beginning of the judging, we spend several weeks discussing the current state of Web development and how it should be recognized through the WebAwards.  Being a WebAward judge is a valuable experience that helps the individual better understand overall Web development and of course looks impressive on a resume or corporate bio”.

Web Marketing Association To Recognize Best Websites of 2017

2017 Best Website AwardsExcellence deserves recognition and the Web Marketing Association is pleased to announce the call for entries for its 21st annual international WebAward competition.  The WebAwards are the standards-defining competition that sets industry benchmarks based on the seven criteria of a successful Web site.  It recognizes the individual and team achievements of Web professionals all over the world who create and maintain outstanding Web sites.  The deadline for entry for the 2017 WebAwards is May 31, 2017.  A complete list of past winners and this year’s entry form can be found at www.webaward.org.

Websites are judged on seven criteria, including design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copy writing and ease of use and receive a numeric score.  Each WebAward entry is judged against other entries in its industry category and then against an overall standard of excellence.  Entrants also benefit from receiving valuable feedback from the WebAwards professional judging panel on their Web site development efforts.

This year’s top awards will include:

A “Best of Industry” WebAward will be given in each of the 96 industry categories, including financial services, medical, small business, travel, advertising, transportation and government.

The competition’s highest honor, the 2017 WebAward “Best of Show,” will be given to the one site that the judges believe represents the pinnacle of outstanding achievement in Web development.  Last year’s Best of Show winner was BETC Paris for their outstanding work on The End of Society Simulator.  The site was also recognized as Best Entertainment Website and Best Media Website and Best Mobile Website.

The Web Marketing Association will also recognize the interactive agency winning the most awards in the competition with the “Top Interactive Agency” WebAward. TravelClick, Inc. was named Top Agency at the 2016 WebAward Competition, taking home 29 WebAwards in 2016. The Top Agency Award is given to recognize the consistently outstanding development going on at interactive firms.

The WebAward Top Agency award recognizes consistency of effort and is given to the interactive agency that wins the most WebAwards in a given year. All locations and offices of a specific agency will be consolidated for the purpose of determining the winner of this award. Each entrant will be awarded points based on the level of award for each award received. A Best of Show will be worth 10 points, Best of Industry 5 points and each Outstanding award 3 points and a Standard of Excellence 1 point. The agency with the most points will be awarded the Top Agency Award for 2016.

Each year, many agencies and some corporations win multiple awards and deserve additional recognition. This year, we will recognize each organization that wins 6 or more WebAwards with an Outstanding Interactive Developer trophy. In 2016, there were 14 agencies recognized with this prestigious award.

Interactive and advertising agencies that win a 2017 WebAward will automatically be included in the Award Winning Agency Database with a free premium listing.

Judging for the 2017 WebAwards will take place in June through August and winners will be announced in September.  Judges will consist of a select group of Internet professionals who have direct experience designing and managing Web sites,–including members of the media, interactive creative directors, site designers, content providers and webmasters – with an in-depth understanding of the current state-of-the-art in Web site development and technology. Past judges have included top executives from leading organizations such as Universal McCann, SapientNitro, T Rowe Price, Bridge Worldwide, Disney, Euro RSCG, Boeing, Huge, ING Direct, VML, Facebook, J. Walter Thompson, Gartner, Possible Worldwide, YUM!, Cuker Interactive, PayPal, Razorfish, Munich Re, Refinery, Ernst & Young, Magellan Health Service, Microsoft, R/GA, Family Cookbook Project, Saatchi & Saatchi, SAP, Starwood Hotel, and Website Magazine.

Check out our Web Marketing Association Facebook Page and be sure to like us as we will be providing hints and tips on how to improve your chances on winning a top award though out the award program entry period.

The 2017 WebAwards are sponsored by the following leading organizations: EContent Magazine, iContact, PR.com, ad:tech conferences, Cranberry Radio, and Website Magazine. The Web Marketing Association thanks these companies for their commitment to the entire online marketing community.

To enter the 20th annual WebAward Competition for Website Development, please visit our website and create a nominator account.

Win a Free Conference Pass to eTail West!

etail-west-img-2017This month we are offering retail professionals the chance to win a free full conference pass to the industry conference eTail West 2017, February 27 – March 2, 2017 at the JW Marriott in Palm Springs, CA.

eTail, launched in 1999, is the premiere multi-channel retail conference dedicated to supporting the growth of the retail industry through high-level networking and extensive thought leadership. eTail West was launched as part of the eTail Conference series to speak to the unique challenges facing retailers looking to grow their brand in the market.

To enter simply go to the WMA Contest page and enter. Learn more about this leading industry conference here.

 

eTail West 2017

etail-west-img-2017eTail West 2017
February 27 – March 2, 2017
JW Marriott, Palm Springs, CA
 
Wonder how Avon continues to be the leading social selling beauty company in North America? Come to eTailWest 2017 to find out! Download the agenda to learn all the details.
eTail, launched in 1999, is the premiere multi-channel retail conference dedicated to supporting the growth of the retail industry through high-level networking and extensive thought leadership. eTail West was launched as part of the eTail Conference series to speak to the unique challenges facing retailers looking to grow their brand in the market. Download the agenda to learn more: http://etailwest.wbresearch.com/agenda-mc

 

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